Status of the debt ceiling fight

Not a whole lot of good news to pass on. As Time puts it, the Tea Party fringe of the Republican/right-wing movement has now broken off from the Establishment big-finance Republicans and is running wild, without any clue as to how the economy actually works. Heck, not many people in the American establishment generally, appear to have any clue about how economics works!

A major problem is that right-wingers don’t really seem to understand how representative democracy is supposed to work and are giving up vastly too much authority to groups that demand pledges. A representative democracy is one where one chooses a representative based on basic compatibility with ones own viewpoints and then give the representative some latitude to negotiate bargains. President Obama expressed this basic point of view but, according to progressives at least, went much, MUCH too far towards pleasing the other political party. Unfortunately, the President appeared to reinforce this view that he’s far more a Blue Dog Democrat (as opposed to a Progressive Democrat, which a lot of people thought they were electing in 2008). Good video commentary on that last piece

Is there hope? Actually, there is.
Grover Norquist demanded that Republican Congresspeople sign a “No new taxes! EVER!” pledge, but appeared to grant dispensation to break that pledge before hastily taking it back. Still, it’s a very positive sign to see that at least some people are at least open to discussing tossing the Bush tax cuts into the wastebasket.

It was also very good to see the Inky (The Philadelphia Inquirer) recognize that the Republican Party appears to be more and more fanatical and separated from reality, though they ultimately wimped out and accused Republicans of “pandering to their right-wing base” instead of being Tea Partiers themselves.
Don’t know. We certainly hope the President does the right thing. Let’s just hope he has to take a better approach than the one he’s been taking up until now.

Update: Interesting piece by Megan McArdle. McArdle is well to the right of me, politically (If, on a scale of 10, I count as a 2, McArdle is about an 8), but she brings up a debate that’s at least as old as Reagan’s 1980 campaign for the presidency. I was 20 years old at that time and going to college in Washington DC, so the debate may very well have been a good deal older, but that’s when I became aware of it. McArdle has taken the very same position that I subscribed to back then. Essentially, that position is “Okay, so ya wanna cut the budget, eh? Okay, fine. What, exactly, do ya wanna cut?” Reagan himself solved that problem by using the “magic asterisk” and “rosy scenario” along with a few other sleight-of-hand tricks, but essentially, the problem has remained  what it was back during the 1980 campaign, that is, no one really knows. Republicans know they want the budget to be smaller, but they’re pretty fuzzy when it comes to specifics.

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